One of it's common names, bugloss, is derived from the Greek words for "ox" and "tongue" and, although I cannot attest to this personally, the leaves are thought to resemble an ox tongue. One thing I can attest to is that Brunnera plants are deer resistant.
- Leaves: The first leaves of the season tend to be oblong, but later leaves are heart-shaped, slightly puckered and many have a tendency to curl or furl. They can be a solid deep green or variegated or spotted with silvery-white.
- Flowers: The delicate, 5-petaled, blue flowers come in sprays held above the foliage. They range from pastel to electric blue, often with a yellow center. As their common name implies, the flowers bear a resemblance to forget-me-nots.
Common Name:Siberian Bugloss, False Forget-Me-Not, Heartleaf Brunnera
Many of the cultivars will spread less quickly than the species. The flower stalks give the plant it's height. When they are pruned back after flowering, the plant forms a low clump.
- Brunnera 'Diane's Gold' - Golden-yellow leaves and blue flowers.
- Brunnera 'Hadspen Cream' - Large leaves with irregular white outer margins.
- Brunnera 'Jack Frost' - Silvery leaves with green veins.
- Brunnera 'Langtrees' (aka ‛Silver Spot') - Leaves are dotted with silver. A very hardy plant.
- Brunnera 'Looking Glass' - Silver leaves look almost metalic.
Since deer and slugs do not often bother Brunnera, it makes a nice alternative to Hosta. Companions with different textures and leaf shapes include: Hellabores, iris, hostas, bleeding heart, geraniums and even late blooming daffodils.
Planting: Only the species Brunnera macrophylla will grow true from seed. Start the seeds in fall, if you want blooms the first season. When the plants are in good growing conditions, they will self-seed on their own.
Brunnera cultivars are planted as plants. Although they will set seed, the resulting plants will not necessarily look like the original plant.
Brunnera perfers a rich soil, but does not require supplemental feeding.
Keep new plants well watered. While Brunnera plants prefer constant moisture, they will become more drought tolerant once they are established.
Mulching will help maintain the cool, moist soil that Brunnera prefers.
The older leaves may start to get tattered and can be cut back during the growing season, to encourage new leaves to fill in. Don't cut back to the ground in the fall. The leaves will help protect the crown during winter and you can easily prune the plant in the spring, when the new leaves begin to emerge.
If you do not want your plants to self-seed, deadhead as the flowers start to fade. If you would like to collect the seed to sow, allow the flowers to dry slightly, then cut and let then finish drying in a paper bag. The seeds will fall off as the flowers dry.
Divide in early spring. Brunnera can be short-lived and dividing your plants about every 3-5 years will keep them around longer.